Excerpt: Toronto in World Film Locations
For years, Toronto has been both a disguised supporting character in hit Hollywood films and a cinematic muse in its own right. A new anthology from the University of Chicago Press—World Film Locations: Toronto, edited by Tom Ue—explores the city’s role as shooting location, inspiration, and international film destination through articles on everything from David Cronenberg to local architecture. To mark the book’s publication, TIFF will be welcoming a number of its contributors this coming Sunday and putting on a free screening of Drying Up the Streets and The Strip, both works that explore the grittiness and seediness of ’70s Yonge Street.
Torontoist‘s own Reel Toronto writer David Fleischer contributed to the volume—his essay “Distilling Toronto History: How a Victorian Industrial Site Became a Hollywood Backlot” is reproduced below in its entirety:
Video Vengeance #8: Robo Vampire
Most of us have that friend who somehow knows about every hilarious and terrible Youtube video in existence. The guys behind Modern Superior‘s Video Vengeance are kind of like that friend—only they gather groups of people at a bar to watch weird and mind-boggling VHS movies. The eighth instalment of this screening series sees vampires and robots blended together in a neat RoboCop ripoff called Robo Vampire. Don’t question it—just come, grab a drink, and prepare to be wowed.
A Journey Into the Forbidden City
If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.
Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength
“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon
“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore
These quotations, which welcome visitors to “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.
2014 Toronto Fringe Festival Preview
With more than 130 shows and additional programming, the Toronto Fringe Festival can be overwhelming. And since the shows are picked mostly via a lottery system, finding one that will be worth your time and money can be a crapshoot—though the best shows can and have gone on to eventual Broadway runs and major film adaptations. We’ll help you get the most out of your Fringe experience with a rundown of the festival’s promising and potentially can’t-miss shows—and we’ll be back with reviews as the festival progresses.
The festival begins with opening ceremonies behind Honest Ed’s at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4, and features some afternoon and evening premieres that day and Thursday, July 3. The festival really kicks off on Friday, July 5, and there’ll be programming every day from noon to midnight until Sunday, July 13.
TIFF Cinematheque: The Homes and Worlds of Satyajit Ray
You’d be hard-pressed to think of a filmmaker more frequently linked to his national cinema in the popular imagination than Satyajit Ray, whose work in the 1950s brought an independent streak to the production of Indian cinema as famously as Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless countered the establishment of French costume dramas around the same time. Yet prior to the 1990s, you might have found it equally difficult to name a major international figurehead who was as underrepresented at repertory screenings, so dire was the state of the films’ prints.
Twenty years after the Academy Film Archive restored the Bengali director’s deteriorating and otherwise endangered negatives and made proper retrospectives possible, TIFF Cinematheque offers “The Sun and the Moon: The Films of Satyajit Ray,” a far-ranging program that gives Toronto audiences the opportunity to see the fruit of that labour as well as the work of arguably India’s most influential filmmaker.
Bent Lens: Pride on Screen
Every part of our city will be drenched in WorldPride this summer, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Bent Lens: Pride on Screen comprises nearly two months of screenings, exhibits, and speaking engagements that reflect the broadness of our LGBT community. Check out films under the stars in David Pecaut Square, take in a conversation with Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black, and much more.
This post originally stated that the outdoor screenings of Bent Lens will focus on Derek Jarman and Bruce LaBruce, but that is not the case.
Toronto Urban Roots Festival
With three days of outdoors music, the Toronto Urban Roots Festival (or TURF, for short) brings a diverse selection of acts to the Garrison Common grounds, including alt-country veterans like Jeff Tweedy and Jenny Lewis, legedary bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and the Violent Femmes, and local acts like July Talk and Bidiniband. In addition to the festival lineups, there’s also a bonus Club Series associated with the festival playing for the week at the Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace that’s included in the higher-priced passes.
Festival of House Culture
The first annual Toronto Festival of House Culture has come about to celebrate what’s already happening on a regular basis across Toronto: people organizing living room and backyard performances and salons for artists who are keen to connect with people in a more intimate setting. Over three days, organizers have planned music performances, screenings, storytelling, and poetry readings at a half-dozen west-end homes, kicking off with a potluck dinner and opening night show on Friday night headlined by singer Cheryl White; other highlights over the weekend include a workshop and performance by Sarah Pelzer, an evening of theatre and music by pop band Words Around the Waist, and a “troubadour” session on Sunday with Kyp Harness.
Gore. Nudity. Sex. Violence. If you’re not turned off yet, consider adding Horror Fest to your agenda this weekend. Immerse yourself in great genre cinema, with two days of short films and feature-length pieces. Since you’ll likely need a palate cleanser after a few hours of blood and guts, there will also be a sexy performance from Loretta Jean of Nerd Girl Burlesque.
Music in the Garden
There’s bound to be a lot of barbecuing, beaching, and boozing around the city this summer, so we’d like to suggest something a little more refined to keep things balanced. The Music in the Garden series features weekly performances by a variety of unique musical groups, amid the luscious greenery of the Toronto Music Garden. The Akwesasne Women Singers start things off on July 3 with a showcase of English and Mohawk songs, followed by Music from the Garden of India (July 24), an all-female fiddling supergroup (July 31), the Nagata Shachu taiko drumming ensemble (August 21), the Veretski Pass Trio (September 4), and many more.
Fans of oddball British humour—rejoice! The Lower Ossington Theatre has brought the genius of Monty Python’s Eric Idle to Toronto with their rendition of Spamalot. Watch as flying cows, killer rabbits, and all sorts of bizarre elements come together to tell a twisted version of the legendary story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.